My biggest regret

It’s my biggest regret. And I can’t stop thinking about it. If only I hadn’t listened to my wife. Why can’t I put it behind me? That pit in the center of my stomach, the metallic taste stuck to the back of my tongue. Why did I second-guess myself? Why didn’t I follow my instincts? If only I’d ordered that second burrito, I wouldn’t be going through what I’m going through now. I wouldn’t be so hungry.

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And after all of this time together, you’d think the one thing I’d be handle in our relationship is ordering food. Yet it’s always a negotiation, regardless of how hungry I say that I am, despite my insistence that I’ll be able to make room for a second entrée, it’s always this sideways glance, the, “Are you sure?”

Am I sure? I don’t know. For a minute, just a brief moment, I’m caught off guard. Maybe I’m not as hungry as I think I am. There’s a quick flashback in my head, I’m little kid again, it’s Thanksgiving and I’ve overloaded my plate with too much food to possible consume in one sitting. My grandmother scolds me for such waste, telling me that my eyes are bigger than my stomach.

Could that be the case here? No. It’s not. I rallied. I fought back. I told my wife, listen, I’ll get the chimichangas, you get flautas, and then I’m getting a burrito also, because I can handle it, because I’m starving. And yes, people use that word a little too casually, no, I wasn’t literally starving. But figuratively, my stomach was distending outward due to the lack of nourishment inside my digestive system.

“Rob,” and this is where I was at a distinct disadvantage, because where my defense, my insistence on two meals had to make a comeback, my wife stood resolute from the beginning, “Why don’t you just eat your chimichangas, and then you can finish whatever I don’t eat from my plate?”

And yeah, I guess that’s a good point. But this was one of those rare occasions where even that might not have been enough. Even if it was, it’s not like I’d be getting a full serving of flautas, there’d be maybe half a flauta left, and of course practically the entire portion of my wife’s rice and beans. Don’t get me wrong, I love rice and beans. But I need equal amounts entrée to side dish here, I don’t want just bite after bite of rice and beans.

Ideally, if I were out by myself, table for one please, I would’ve gone for both entrees without looking back. So that was the loudest voice screaming in my head, get the burrito, nobody tells you not to order the burrito, nobody tells you anything. Yeah, here it was, my third wind, I was just going to ignore everything until the waitress came over and I’d blurt it out, chimichangas and the burrito please, and then I’d cover my ears and close my eyes and not respond to any external stimuli until the food hit the table.

But I didn’t get the chance. My wife was still looking at me. I was on my third wind, yeah, it was strong, but she was still riding that first wind, she hadn’t budged at all. “Rob,” she said again, and I wanted to cover my ears right there, but she had me, “Just get the chimchangas, and I’m not going to eat all of mine. You don’t need another whole burrito. Flautas are like mini burritos anyway. You’ll be fine.”

And beside the fact that flautas are nothing at all like mini burritos, despite that voice, something inside of me warning that I wouldn’t be fine, that this nagging sense of being way too hungry was going to follow me out of the restaurant, accompany me to bed, for some reason I gave in. I waited for a super strong fourth wind to blow in and provide some irrefutable attack, but there was nothing, the waitress came over to the table.

“Can I start you guys off with anything?” I looked to my wife, “Guacamole?” I mouthed to her? And she didn’t have to open her mouth, her head was almost imperceptibly moving from side to side, she communicated with her eyes, “Rob, we already have chips on the table.”

The food came, I housed my chimichangas, I polished off all of the chips and salsa, and I waited for my wife to finish her food so we could trade plates. It was just as I had suspected. There was maybe three-quarters of a flauta left, along with basically the entire portion of rice and beans, and of course that little garnish of shredded iceberg lettuce.

What really killed me was, my wife got to hang onto my plate in front of her, like a trophy she hadn’t really earned. This thing was spotless. Talk about the clean plate club, I was practically club president that night. Everything was gone, rice, beans, garnishes, I could just imagine the dishwasher looking at this plate and wondering, who did such a great job? I’d better show the cook. And he would, he’d show the cook, they’d all be overwhelmed with a sense of pride, wow, this guy really loved our chimichangas, really appreciated our authentic cuisine.

And now all of that work was credited to my wife. Meanwhile, I had this plate of basically scraps in front of me. Like I said before, I want each bite of a meal to be in a proportion, a little bit of entrée, some rice, a few beans, maybe a sliver of lettuce. That’s how you polish a plate clean. You can’t just eat plain rice. I mean, you can, but it’s not fun. That’s not why you go out to a restaurant.

And so there were a few leftovers on the plate when the busboy came to clear the table. He automatically took my clean plate away from my wife, but he paused to me, “You finished?” I wanted to be like, you don’t understand, that wasn’t my plate, that was my wife’s. I ate a lot. I ate mine and then most of hers. Seriously.

But he didn’t care. And worst of all, I was totally still hungry. It wasn’t right away, but pretty soon after we got home, I realized that I actually wanted that burrito still. Why didn’t I trust myself? Who knows my appetite better than me? Nobody. From now on, I’m never listening to anybody at a restaurant ever again. Because man, that burrito, the one that got away. It would have been the crown jewel to a perfect meal. But now I’ll never know the satisfaction that would have come from having gone from super hungry to ultimately satiated. It’s my biggest regret. I should have ordered that burrito.

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